Sunday, October 18, 2009

Chapter Four

Jon walked to the door, grabbing his leather jacket. "All right, tell me the rest on the way." He held the door open for her. "Did you find Wes hanging out with them?"

She kept eyes above his waist, now just wasn't the time. She was used to being the bearer of bad news, it came naturally and his reaction was minor in comparison to others. She walked out into the lobby slipping one hand in her pocket "He lives with him, I did the full background checks and their parents died about five years ago leaving Black Watch as Wes's guardian. So yes he hangs around him I didn't see-" She stopped as the sound of Nickleback's Gotta be Somebody blasted through the lobby. She reached around for her clip and snapped her blackberry free. "Sorry," she mouthed to him as he locked the door behind them.

"MacKenzie Cooper," she breathed out as she ran her hand through her hair.

"Hey Mac, David's asking where the Jameson file is. He's rifling through your desk as we speak." Marissa her assistant informed her.

"It's not on my desk, like I told him three times already. It's in the filing cabinet by the coffee machine, filed under J. Jesus Christ! He lives at that machine most days so its not rocket science!" The thought of David moving anything on her desk out of order, okay so it wasn't in order but she knew where to find it if she needed it. She hated, HATED people touching her desk.

Miranda laughed "Tough session with Josh was it?"

MacKenzie closed her eyes and laughed. Miranda always had this uncanny ability to throw her off her rants. "Yes it was, as always. Now tell him where it is, and tell him if he goes near my desk again Jamie won't be having children anytime soon. Thanks M." She hit the red button and clipped the phone back on her belt. "Sorry," she said feeling her cheeks heat. "It seems, good help is hard to find sometimes."

Jon snorted and held the elevator open. "I know all about staff and loving them as much as you want to strangle them sometimes." He leaned against the bar along the back. "Most of mine are family." He snorted. "I can't fire mine."

"I understand that, mine are like my family." MacKenzie had a decent sized staff and she was firecly loyal to everyone of them. Miranda her PA, and David her second in charge were like the siblings she didn't have. She met Jon's gaze across the elevator and felt her heart trip, his blue steely gaze made her toes curl in her boots. Christ. "As I was saying, I have no hard evidence to assume that Wes is actually in the gang but he's hanging around with his brother an awful lot." She popped her knuckles as the elevator pinged on the ground floor.

He let her walk out first, trying not to stare at her ass. They walked through the small lobby and passed his security guard. "Hey George, how's Essie?"

"Right as rain, Mr. Bon Jovi. She's baking pumpkin muffins again. Same order?"

Jon groaned. "You know me and the kids look forward to that every year. Definitely." He put his hand on MacKenzie's lower back to shuffle her through, backing off as she stiffened. Christ, it's not a date, Jon. "See you in a bit." He nodded to his doorman/security man. He was deceptively casual behind that desk, but George was an ex-cop. His building supplemented his city pension nicely to watch over them.

"Well, I have a no thug policy toward the kids themselves, but living around that doesn't give me much hope. Even if he's not involved now, there's no telling how long it will take." He sighed, noticing how easily she fell into step beside him.

She tucked her hands in her pockets keeping the folder nestled securely under her arm as they strolled. "Well, it's none of my business how you operate but if you want my advice, and this did come from my guy in the force, is that these guys you don't want to mess with. Not too much is known about the inner operations of how they run apart from one thing. Once you're in, you don't get out." She explained as they dodged people on the sidewalk.

"Yeah, I was sorry to hear that the Bloods had moved into Philly, but they pretty much are infiltrating most of the big cities." He shuffled through the mass of after work commuters and tugged her into the cave of a building. No one ever noticed him in there. "Hell, Albany even has affiliates now. Freakin' suburbia isn't even safe." He stopped at the edge of the stations that filled the cavernous space. From the outside it looked like a shack. "Hot or cold?" He asked and waved at the buffet and cold sandwich counters.

Her hand again clutched her stomach as it rumbled for the second time. "Hot, definitely hot," she grinned following his lead. Ok, business was half over wasn't it? She could look now, right? She broke the cardinal rule and looked, enough to see below the end of the leather jacket, buns of steel, mercy. You really need to get out more MacKenzie, seriously.

Jon piled on the pasta and sauce. The guy that ran the place, Gio, made the best sauce outside of Richie's mama's house. He winced only slightly when he weighed in and paid for his and waved on for hers. He was going to need to do an extra mile on his run tomorrow to combat that plate. He grinned, looking over his shoulder at MacKenzie's plate. "I like a woman with a healthy appetite," he said with a touch too much flirt in his tone. Well hell, she'd done her job. It was safe to flirt now, right?

She licked the tip of her finger, tasting the best damn pasta sauce she had in a long time. "You got me, it's a guilty pleasure. I love this love/hate relationship with food," she was already thinking about how many push ups this was going to take tommorrow. "Thank you," she said as they squeezed into a corner booth when he paid for both of them. She forked a huge mouthful of creamy pasta into her mouth and groaned, "Oh my god..."

He stopped mid-roll his fork stuck in the bowl of his spoon. Pasta was suddenly not even remotely what he wanted. Clearing his throat he tucked a small bundle of angel hair into his mouth. "Gio's a master of all things cream sauce and red sauce." He said around a bite. He cracked the top of his beer and hers. "Too bad he doesn't have a wine license. Then all would be perfect."

"Gio needs to come live at my house, although maybe that wouldn't be a good idea. I'd have to live in the gym," she winked chugging back her ice cold beer. Just what the doctor had ordered for a hard day's work. She watched him delicately spoon his pasta into his mouth. He was cultured, no doubt about that.

Suddenly her client had become the one she was slightly more interested in knowing more about. Obviously he was divorced, as no wedding ring and no sign of a wife in that spacious bachelor pad. Why had they divorced? Had he cheated like so many other of her clients? She snapped back to reality when he was grinning at her, he'd asked her a question and she'd had no idea what it was. Whoops. "God Jon I'm sorry I was a million miles away," she apologized. Crap. That’s what you get when you take your mind off the job Mac.

He broke off the crusty end of his garlic bread. "I said, when do you get a day off?" He hadn't meant to ask that one. The first question had been where her gym was. Shit.

Days off? God, what was that these days? She scooped more pasta onto her fork and waved it out. "Well, my names MacKenzie Cooper and I'm a workaholic," she admitted before snagging the pasta off her fork. She chewed and then continued, "Seriously, Sundays I do try and block out the world if I can, I usually hit the surf, veg out on the beach. Anything that doesn't involve computers, cell phones and paperwork." She took another sip of of her beer, god this food was good. The company wasn't bad either.

"Sunday is football, woman." He smiled. "Talkin' sacrilege! Mercy where's your American roots?" He dunked his bread in his red sauce. "Not to mention, the cell phone. Shit, I have three of the same damn phone." He looked down, trying not to picture her in a wet suit. Don't go there, Jon. "Besides, it's almost winter. What do you do when November puts the kibosh on the beach?

She chuckled. "Yes I'm aware every male in the country orgasms on Sundays," she took another swig of her beer. She used to love to love Sunday football, tail gating back in college. God that was a long time ago, and so much had changed since then. She'd not watched a single football game or followed it. She refused to let herself be reminded of what she lost back then.

"Ahh well I still surf a little in the winter, that's what wetsuits are for." She grinned watching his brow quirk. He totally just pictured it, men. "Apart from that, I run, climb, anything that keeps me moving. Somedays, I can't sit still."

"I'm exhausted just thinking about that list. Well, I have season tickets and my kid crapped out on me for the game Sunday..if you're not," he shrugged. "Hell," he muttered. At the way her face closed off he cleared his throat. "You know what? Never mind." He upended his beer and downed more than half of it.

Shit, she hadn't meant to have that reaction. If he'd asked about a movie, dinner or anything else, she would of probably accepted. Just not football. She couldn't go back there, it was a part of her life so far removed, and full of hurt that she just couldn't go back. Dammit, this is why you don't date. She let her fork fall to the plate with a clatter, and brought the napkin to her lips. He kept busy chasing the pasta around his plate with his fork. She reached out her hand, and almost touched his but pulled it back quickly, she was hopeless at this. "I really should be going," the awkwardness hung thick over them.

"Right," Jon stood. "Thanks for all you've done Ms--" he stopped. No, he wouldn't make her feel bad about it. He'd just felt something there. Something he'd been prepared to explore, but she'd probably saved him anyway. The next month and a half was going to be insane with the Democrat stomps and dealing with the Soul Foundation. He didn't have time to deal with a woman, even if she was the first one to make his dick twitch in too many months to count. "MacKenzie. I appreciate the work you did. I don't want to have to give Wes up," he slid the folder over and tucked it under his own arm. "But you made it easier to make the decision. I'll have my lawyer finalize all your fees and such." He held out his hand. "Pleasure working with you."

She wanted to take it back, tell him that she'd of gone out with him, but the moment had gone. And she didn't have the guts to be honest with him about why she'd pulled back. She clutched his hand and their eyes locked. "You're very welcome, it was a pleasure I hope everything works out for you." She lifted her bag, "Thanks again for the meal, just what I needed. And if you ever need any help or......just anything don't hesitate to give me a call," she swallowed. She was so damn stupid sometimes for all the brains and sense she had, she sucked at this side of life. As much as she wanted to deny it. There hadn't been this much of a spark since Bryan and that scared her. Good thing she was about to walk back out of his life and into her own world where all she had to worry about was herself.

Jon watched her turn away, her footsteps quick and sure. Hell, she didn't even want to walk back to his apartment with him. "Way to go, Jackass," he mumbled. He headed out the opposite entrance and flagged down a cab. Maybe he could find Richie at the studio still. He flipped open his phone and texted him.

Within three minutes he'd gotten his answer. "Studio it is," he said and rattled off the address.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Chapter Three

“Forty Nine... One more Cooper, come on!”

“God, I hate you!” She grunted curling her fingers around the bar until her nails dug into the bottom of her hand. She closed her eyes and hauled up her whole body until she was above the level of the bar. “God!” She heaved herself up one final time before letting go and landing back, hard, flat on her feet.

“And fifty! Good job, now drop and give me twenty.” Josh pointed to the floor, a devious smirk kicking up at the corners of his mouth. He stood, arms folded and waited. He was the damn devil incarnate, if he wasn’t trained and twice the size of her she would of pinned him to the ground and told him where to shove his press-ups. But no, she stupidly paid him to torture her like this, oh and three times a week.

“Asshole,” she muttered collapsing in a pile of limbs. Why in god’s name she did this to herself she had no idea. Personal training with one of her friends ex-marine turned gym-nazi, it always fun and he made her work. She liked to stay in shape, and she liked to eat - alot. So here was the penance for a heathly appetite that her colleagues and friends teased was similar to a nineteen year old boy.

Sweat splashed down onto her knuckles and dotted the gym mat as she clenched her jaw riding each one through. Least he wasn’t sitting on her this time. Jesus Christ.

“And... twenty! Great job Mac, now let’s stretch you out huh?” She could hear the smart ass smile in his voice as she lay flat on her tummy fighting for breath. She rolled over so he could pin her leg right over stretching out the tight tendons in her thighs. Her shoulders ached, and her calves burned, she never expected anything less when it came to Josh.

“All done for the day Super Sleuth?” He asked her changing the legs over, and leaning against her streching her out across her other leg.

“Almost, one more stop to make on the way home to a client.” She groaned closing her eyes and finding herself again. She’d finished the research for Jon, after a few nights of following around the kid and checking up with a few people in his neighbourhood. She'd called to let Jon know she would pop in on her way home from work tonight with the info he required.

“Another heartbreak?” Josh asked raising his eyebrow.

“No not today, just some business interest he needed checking out.” She sat up and rolled back her shoulders, and he was right to ask her to look into it. His worst nightmare, had been confirmed.

"Ok Mac, I've got another client in five so I gotta jet, be good, go forth and kick ass!” He winked before striding off across the gym.

MacKenzie chuckled watching him stride across the gym towards his next victim. He was hot, and so was his wife, she thought ruefully as she popped herself off the ground. Time to go and see Jon, this time she would make a point of not being so flustered around him. His raw sexual appeal had hit her a little hard, with his leather and soap scent all up in her face. She couldn't afford to act all ridiculous around him again.

She'd had a pretty awful day, some tough clients and never ending damn paperwork that she hated to drown in. It would be a lie to suggest she saved Jon's visit until the end of the day because she drove home that way. Yeah right. However, there was to be minimal goggling this time at that spectacular ass.

She showered, polished her body down with ginger scrub, and slathered on the matching body butter. She slid into her jeans and tugged on a snug fitting v-neck tee. She shrugged into her jacked and stuffed everything back into her oversized gym back before tying her hair up in a loose pony tail. She started to apply a little makeup but started laughing and shaking her head. She never usually bothered with it after the gym. “Oh you’re something else Mac, seriously.” She slipped her lip gloss back into her makeup bag and tugged the zipper shut.

The drive to Jon’s Soho residence was curbed by an accident which had her running fifteen minutes late by the time she’d parked. Cranking the hand brake on she grabbed her leather folder with her files and scrambled out of the car. She hated being late if she could avoid it. Her boots clicked though the foyer and she waved down the doorman, and slipped into the elevator nearly tipping the contents of her folders to the floor. “Shit!” She jammed the button to his floor and reshuffled everything in her arms. She positioned herself at his door, flicked her hair back and rapped her knuckles on his door. Pull yourself together Cooper. She rubbed her belly as it growled, reminding her that breakfast was over seven hours again, double shit.

Jon answered the door, smiling politely as he motioned her in. "I know what I said, Jerry. Just make it happen. Hey, if you want Coach on your ass--"

"Hello no. I just have a bad feeling."

Jon walked to the kitchen and poured them both an iced tea, tucking the phone into his shoulder. "Yeah, I thought so. I'll call you tomorrow with the details."

"I need time to work on the contract if--"

"Look, Jerry...MacKenzie just got here with the files, I won't know what else to tell you until she gives me the goods. I'll call you first thing in the morning. Go home, kiss your wife for fuck's sake."

Jerry laughed. "I forgot I had one of those man."

"They don't let you forget," Jon said and smiled at MacKenzie handing her a glass. "All right, talk to you later, man."

Jon flipped the phone closed and clipped it to his hip. "Sorry about that." His eyes wanted to flick down to the little v-neck she had going on over some seriously nice tits, but he kept his eyes on hers. "Jerry's been texting me and calling me for updates every other hour."

She took a healthy gulp of the tea, "Not a problem so sorry I'm late and thaks for this, so good." On her second sip she did a scan across his body, his darkwash jeans couldn't really have fitted more perfectly. Set off by a crisp white shirt, a few buttons popped open and curved in, un all the right places. He padded back into the apartment giving her time to mentally smack herself. She wasn't supposed to be looking, again.

"That's okay, I just got out of the shower myself. I hit some ridiculous traffic in midtown. I was going to get some dinner at the Deli around the corner. Interested?"

She sighed, "After the day I've had, that sounds perfect. Evidently, I've forgotton to eat since mid morning." She tucked her folder under her arm and tipped the glass back to finish the drink. Freshly showered indeed, his hair was all mussed and wet and the house had an aroma of male and soap.

"I haven't had time to staff the apartment since I moved in permanently." He patted his belly. "I had to ramp up the workout to combat The Deli. It's far too convenient, and I like carbs." He jogged to the back of the room and grabbed his boots and socks from his bedroom.

She laughed, "I love carbs, and they love my ass."

He cocked his brow and sat down, tugging on his socks. As far as he could tell, there was nothing wrong with her ass. "What'd you come up with?" He tried not to notice the lean line of her midsection flaring to hips as she fussed with her belt. Christ, Jon. He looked back down at his scuffed boots, chugging his own tea as he jammed a foot in.

She flinched as arm muscle quivered as she placed the glass back on the table. When he leaned down to fuss with his boots her eyes strayed right down the v in his shirt to a fine splattering of silvery chest hair. Damn it. "You're not going to like it I'm afraid." She flipped her folder open and fanned through the pages looking for the pictures she'd taken.

"Your boy..." She held out the photos to him, "happens to be tied up in the Bloods gang. He's been seen with a guy with name Black Watch, the head honcho." She stood back when he took it from her. "I had some guys I know in the NYPD run a few reports for me and this guy is under suspicion of a couple of murders and some other petty crimes, but there's not enough evidence to nail him."

He sat back on the couch, his knees falling open and his hand dangling on the edge of the tailored arm. "Aww, fuck." He pinched the bridge of his nose. "Sorry," he muttered automatically for swearing and stood up slowly. Right then he felt every inch of his forty-six years. "We had our suspicions on the Bloods, but I'd hoped I was wrong."

The sad thing was, the kid was pretty promising. He should of damn known, and he didn't need this complication in his already complicated life. He looked out the to the stack of buildings glinting in the late sun, the scent of her in his apartment was buzzing around his head. He was to used to not looking at woman past business these days, but there was something different and alluring about her. Something he shouldn't even want to go and find out, she was working for him for god's sake.

Since Dot his private life had been quiet, a couple of woman here and there, but it was never anything serious. he just didn't have time between his kids and the demands of his life right now. Nothing was about to happen with MacKenzie, so what was the harm in enjoying a light dinner?

"I wish it was better news, sounds like he was a hopeful." She tucked her papers back into the folder and her eyes popped when her belly growled. Oh jesus.

Jon threw his head back and laughed, "hell we better get you fed."

She stood, and patted her belly. "Told you, I love food too much." Could she be more embarrasing? No, don't tempt fate MacKenzie.

"Come on then, you can tell me more on the way."

Monday, October 12, 2009

Chapter Two

The elevator doors pinged and she stepped out into the small foyer. She straightened herself popping her top shirt button before knocking on the door.

Jon peered through the peephole, pausing a moment when he saw the fish-eyed version of this Cooper woman. GI Jane, his ass. She was fucking gorgeous. "Great," he muttered and opened the door.

Fish-eyed lens was way off. She passed beautiful by yards. Her dark hair was a little windblown, but pulled away from an angular face. Her clothes matched what he assumed a PI would wear, but he was pretty sure that the jeans weren't supposed to be that hot on her. He met her eyes, and gave her a polite smile. The blue was intelligent and patient as she gave him a once over as well. He wasn't quite sure he passed muster.

"Thanks for making time for me, Ms. Cooper." He held out his hand. "I appreciate it."

"Not a problem Mr. Bongiovi, and please call me MacKenzie," she took his hand and shook it, the zing shooting straight up her arm to the back of her neck, as he squeezed her hand. Her eyes flicked back to his, still very much fixated on her. Well shit. When she'd thought of Jon Bon Jovi, she thought spandex, glitter and long wavy rock star hair. The man that stood in front of her was a long way off from that now.

The glint of silver drew her eyes to the opening of the silk navy button shirt, nestled deep in a generous scattering of chest hair. Don't do it, her eyes couldn't help but go all the way down. Men still looked this good in jeans? Right down to the leather boots he wore he fascinated her. He was easy on the eyes, way too easy. She managed a smile meet baby blue eyes, shaped with high cheek bones and a generous splattering of cinnamon hair which sat a little ruffled. She sucked in her breath before her tongue rolled right out of her mouth onto the floor.

He waved an arm into his foyer. "Well c'mon in. Can I get you a soda? Bottled water?" She walked by him and something spicy drifted behind her. He couldn't put his finger on it. It wasn't the usual female cloying scent. It was...lighter somehow. Not what he expected.

"He grinned, I only have Diet Coke though, be forewarned."

She licked her lips, the floury-after taste of apple still there.

"Water would be great actually," she said settling her case down on the leather couch and taking a look around. It was huge, well for the penthouse she expected nothing less. 360 degree views of the New York skyline had to come at a hefty price, and the art that hung on the walls wasn’t the kind you found in any run of the mill art shops. It was spacious and had a modern artistic feel to the place. Very male, she decided.

"Have a seat, I'll be back in a moment." He strode to the kitchen trying not to be uncomfortable with how she'd sized up his person and his home in less than five minutes. He pulled the Pur pitcher out of the fridge and poured two highball glasses. Going green was a pain in the ass sometimes.

He hip checked the door closed and headed back into his living room. She was facing the view, as most people did when they came into his house. His home was in the heart of the village and the people, but high enough to get a bit of the skyline as well. His eyes skipped over the military posture and slid down her back. The jacket was boxy, but suited her. It fell just above her hips, leaving a curve of hips and lean thighs framed by a damn fine ass. He cleared his throat. "Here we go."

"Thanks" she took a sip and walked away from him doing a lazy circuit around the room. She knew it freaked most people out when she did, but she always liked to get a feel of the place. Always told her a lot about the person, almost like a little game she played with herself. If she had to guess, the black and white prints meant he was all about business but the random splashes of color here and there told her he had a relaxed easy side, when the mood called for it and only reserved for some. The piles of sports magazines on the coffee table flashed an image of him sprawled out on leather watching the game, maybe his shirt would be a little unbuttoned. Damn it.

She settled down on the couch and waited for him to join her, sitting opposite in the leather recliner. The hint of ass she saw, tight curved and toned made her eyes widen. Oh great, I now have an ass-tastic client, just what I need. Her fingers curled around the glass as she tried mentally not to compare his ass to being as hard as glass. Shit.

She leaned back and crossed her legs "So tell me Mr. Bongiovi, what can my services do for you?"

Jon sat across from her, years of training had him seeking out the pile of coasters that littered the table and selecting one before lowering his glass. The line of her legs could be ignored. He was perfectly capable of not looking at them. Yup.

Hell. He kept his eyes on her face. "I need help with a new addition to the Soul's roster for next season." He forced himself to sit back against the leather, crossing his arms lightly. Rubbing his left bicep, he sighed. "I have a strict no thug rule to the Soul. I recently signed a kid named Weston Blake from St. Mary's in downtown Philly. Some things have come to my attention that might cause problems down the road."

Her eyes followed his hand, such a simple thing but it made her shift in her seat. She leaned forward selecting a coaster placing down her glass. Bet that was learned by Nagging Wife Syndrome, she chuckled to herself as she shrugged off her jacket and laid it neatly beside her. Jesus it was hot in here. Probably the stupid run down the stairs didn't help. She popped another button on her shirt open and fanned the material. "Sorry, I seemed to have grown hot in the last the few minutes," she blew her breath out before continuing. "So you think this kid may have gang connections or something?"

"I'm sure you've heard the rumors that the Bloods have come into Philly." He crossed his ankle over his knee and concentrated on not bouncing his thigh. The hint of a shadow at her neck had him keeping his eyes firmly on hers.

"That I have, and I can tell you they are not rumors Mr. Bongiovi, in fact both the Crips and the Bloods seem to have descended on Philly of late," the thick silver necklace was distracting, her fingers curled as she fought the urge to follow it down into his shirt. Christ, Mac. You’re behaving like a randy teenager.

"Yeah, that's what I was afraid of." He sighed, kneading harder. His muscles ached something fierce. He'd been working out to forget about his lack of sex life. Lifting was becoming an obsession, with the help of his trainer. Marc wanted him to be a beast like he was for fuck's sake. "When I was at a game we saw Wes talking with a few guys matching the gang colors of the Bloods. Not just any gang members, the leader." He uncrossed his legs with a thunk of his boot on the marble floor. "I don't want to think the worst of this kid, but I have to know if he's involved or getting recruited."

He stood, walking toward the expanse of windows. "As good as this kid is, I have the reputation of the team and the charities we take care of to think about first."

There it goes again, that damn ass. I bet he could crack nuts in that thing, Shit. Stop it, just because your panties haven't seen a guy’s bedroom floor in over a year. No need to go crazy over the first male that actually revs your engine. God. He's probably married, although the place did suggest bachelor pad. She stood and briefly let herself take in his full profile. He worked out, no way could he have those killer biceps, broad shoulders and lean waist without it. "Ok, so we know the kid's definitely hanging out with some interesting people." She admired him for taking such caution and care in what he was doing, but he was smart. There were much bigger things at play here than just the kid hanging out with the wrong crowd. "So what do you want me to do? Follow him around for a little see what he's doing in his downtime?"

He turned back to her. "Yeah," he scraped his hands through his hair, gripping the back of his neck. "I hate to have to resort to spying on the kid, but I need to know that the team and my organization are going to be okay."

Her eyes fell to the flash of skin on his tummy as he reached behind him. Flat as a damn pancake. Jesus, Mary and Joseph. The gleam of the belt buckle distracted her further. Not like she hadn’t seen men with hot bodies before, she trained and worked with them for god’s sake. She forced her eyes away and folded back the cuffs on her shirt and resting her hands on her thighs. "You're doing the right thing here. Trust me. You don't want to get messed up in that circle, and the risk to your team and foundation. And I'm discrete, never been busted on the job yet...I think people assume I'm not who I am," she winked.

"I appreciate the discrete. I don't want to ruin this kid's life if I don't have to." He walked over to his bag, flipping it open. "I've got an initial file on him from the quickie background checks that Roger's PI does. He didn't find a record, just some kids stuff in high school." He shrugged. "You know, team bull shit pranks and that sort of thing. At least you'll have something to go on."

He handed her the file, watching her quickly scan the slim manila file. "I've talked to this kid personally. I like him." He crossed his arms again, tucking his fingers under his pits to keep him focused on anything but MacKenzie Cooper. She was that Angie Harmon kind of beautiful. Athletic and lithe, fresh faced and unconcerned with fashion, but not sloppy or off the rack either.

She was an enigma. Female and yet not overly feminine. Distracting as all hell, and about as off limits as it got. One thing he never did was get involved with an employee, twice removed or not.

"This is great, don't worry ,I'll be thorough and make sure I have my facts right on this one." She slid the folder into her briefcase and picked out one of her business cards and handed it to him. "This is my business card, it has all my numbers and email contacts. If you need to know anything or you have any more information that comes to light just give me a call." she snicked the clasp back on her briefcase picking it up. "It'll take me a couple of days but I'll make it my top priority.”

The way he held himself, the confidence exuberated out of him. It became obvious that he could not only command an audience, but a boardroom as well. He was very good at what he did, she knew the type. The worst part was, along with the confidence came the overwhelming sex appeal he seemed to invoke without trying. It had been months since standing in a room with a man that made her want to jump him. But it couldn’t be this one, business was business. End of story. "Ok, well I'll give you a call and we'll meet again once I get some new information, it was a pleasure meeting you."

He tucked her card into his hip pocket and clasped hers. "I really appreciate you taking this on personally. Roger speaks highly of your company." Her shake was businesslike firm, but not going for the power play.

The line of her collar opened, leaving creamy curves peeking from the man-style button down shirt. He swallowed, letting her go. "If you can't get a hold of me, you can go through Roger or my assistant Julie Saunders. I've got a full plate next week with the stomps for Obama. But I'll be around the rest of this week."

Her eyebrow arched, "Obama? I'm impressed. He's running a good campaign." that was one she didn't expect. Rock star, with the possible future president of the United States? "Sounds good, okay I can show myself out," she said striding for the door. She needed to go, before she had to find something else insanely attractive about him but she paused at the door turning around.

“Bye Jon, it was nice to meet you.” She winked and slipped out the door.
"Bye MacKenzie." The corners of his mouth kicked up.

Jon watched her walk away, already focused on whatever was next on her schedule. He fingered the ridiculous skull, tucking it back under his shirt. Hell, he wasn't all business. As she stepped on the elevator he closed the door, groaning as the phone on his hip buzzed manically. "I'm surprised it stayed silent that long," he muttered and sighed at the display. It was time to put his politics hat on now. "Hi, Mrs. C. You ready for the rally on Wednesday?"

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Chapter One

Jon tucked his phone into the crook of his shoulder and flipped through his bag. The battered leather was bulging at the seams with files on all the new players. “Yeah, Leo, I heard you. Just handle it all right? You don’t need me to hold your hand.”

“I don’t have the authorization—“

“I’m giving it to you now. Tell Jules that you can sign temporary contracts for the kids you find when you’re scouting. I need a backup quarterback, Leo. End of story. I’ll shoot her an email backing you up.” He sighed and pulled out a folder. “Matt’s kicking ass but I need two backups this time.”

“All right. Where you at?”

“I’m taking in Weston Blake’s game over at St. Mary’s. I’ll check in with you tonight.” He looked up pushing his baseball hat back so he could see. Wes was ploughing through the field. He was second string, but he was fast; perfect for the half field, arena ball and the Soul.

“Okay, boss.”

Jon flipped his Blackberry case closed and clipped it to his hip. This was the third game he’d watched with the kid since he signed him. Wes caught on quickly and played with one of the lower tiered Arena teams on the off season. Football was in his blood, but college wasn’t an option for the kid yet so he was hungry to play for the Soul to make a name for himself.

“Jon, I think we might have a problem.”

He pulled the brim of his black hat down and shot a look at his new assistant coach, Jerry. “God, he didn’t get hurt or something did he?” Jon looked out at the field.

“No, that’s not it.” Jerry wiped sweat off his gleaming bald head. “There’s been some talk about Wes that you’re not going to like.”

“Ah, fuck. Please tell me the kid isn’t using.”

Jerry laughed. “Man, I almost wish that was it.”

Jon arched a brow. That wasn’t good. “Well lay it on me now while I still have a scout out there trying to find the next, Money.”

“Hell if we find another Jackson, you couldn’t afford him.”

Jon smirked. “True that. C’mon, don’t keep me in suspense. My phone hasn’t rung in—“the annoying buzz at his hip started. “See, you jinxed it man.” He unclipped it, checking the display. “Hell,” he muttered and hit the send button. “Hey Rich.”

“Hey bro. Where you at?”

“Game with Jerry.”

“Oh, all right. No big. Just seeing if you wanted to play my date tonight.”

“No sex, I’m still sore.”

Richie’s howl of laughter had Jerry chuckling next to him. “You’re such an ass. All right, well you’re no good to me for food or fucking. I’m out. Catch ya later.”

Jon shook his head and re-clipped it. “Hurry up man that was definitely a fluke.”

Jerry shook his head. “I was hoping I was wrong, but take a look over there.” He nodded, but didn’t point.

Jon frowned. ”Look where?”

“By the fence.” The game started breaking up as the announcer gave the final score. The stands erupted in cheers. Cheerleaders stomped and the whoop of teens and parents alike battered at him. Both of them stood up. “See there?”

Jon watched Wes head over to the chain link fence. A group of man-boys were gathered, all wearing gang colors and twisted caps. “Fuck.” Jon shot a startled glance at Jerry. “C’mon. We had him checked out. He doesn’t have a record at all.”

“I know, I don’t know how it slipped through the cracks, but I had a friend run a few faces from some shots I took last week. Definitely gang. Four of them are out on bail for possession with intent to sell and the head guy, Black Watch, is under investigation for three murders.”

Disappointment ran deep, and he sighed. “Are we sure he’s involved?”

“I can’t be sure. He could be just one of the one’s that doesn’t have a record yet.”

Jon pinched the bridge of his nose. “Hell, man. I’ve got a lot riding on this kid. All right, I’ll take care of it.”

Jerry stood up and shook his hand. “I hope to God, I’m wrong, Jon.”

“Me too.” He watched Jerry lumbar across the field and do his thing with Wes and a few other guys they’d been watching. St. Mary’s had an impeccable record that year. He unclipped his Blackberry again and hit a button. “Rog, how you doin’ man?”

“Jon you shit, you never call me to know how I’m doing.”

Jon leaned back on the cool bleachers. “Yeah, I guess I don’t. I’ll make it up during Christmas.”

“You do that. I like scotch.”

“Of course you do,” Jon laughed. “I think I’m going to need you to contact your private investigator for me again.” He gave him a quick rundown of what he and Jerry had discussed.

“Damn, that’s above Bobby’s range. Tell you what? I’ll contact this new investigator my firm’s used a few times. She’s really good. Has contacts in the police department in the city and out in Philly.”

Jon nibbled on the corner of his nail. “She?”

“Yeah, she’s a bit scary actually. Ex-marine, ex-cop and hell…she’s like GI Jane.” Roger laughed. “She’s a professional of the first order. I’ll have her meet you and you can decide.”

“Yeah, can’t hurt. Shoot me a text or email with a time and I’ll get back to you.”

“Will do.”

Jon tucked his files back into his bag, pounding down the stairs. This is not how he wanted to spend the rest of his week off.


“Thanks for your call Mr. Watts. Tell Mr. Bongiovi to expect me within the hour,” she said checking her watch as she clicked the phone back into its cradle. She swung back in her swivel chair and snapped shut the leather bound folder. “Sorry Mr. Briggs, Mrs. Briggs and her little Italian cabana boy will just have to wait.” She tipped the folder onto the pile that forever towered her desk these days.

Everyone had a secret in this town that they didn’t want to share, and finding them out, well that’s how she made a living. She stretched back and closed her eyes visualizing out how to make it across the city to Soho at four o’clock in the afternoon without sprouting wings and flying. She spun around and grabbed her leather brief, stuffing in her keys, iPhone, and the disclosure papers she would need her newest client to sign.

David really could have taken this one, but Mr. Bongiovi’s lawyer reiterated that this needed to be handled in the strictest confidence so she tended to take them on personally ensuring their needs were met. Her own agency had been running for a little over five years with business branching out into personal security within the last two. It was a small team, but they were like her family, and they all worked closely together.

She picked up an apple and crunched a big bite. Well least this one was more of a business matter, certainly would make a change from busting out mistresses and sordid affairs that were popular in this circle. She wiped away the juice away with the side of her knuckle, and waved at her assistant before heading down to the basement.

The click of her boots followed her for ten flights, why she did this to herself every day she had no idea, but she liked food too much, so this was the trade-off. She pointed her key lock at her trusty Toyota Prius and with two sharp beeps, the car clicked and she climbed inside. Wasn’t her choice of car, but it was practical for the job. Maybe one day she could own something classic and little racy, like a mustang or a charger.

Squinting into the glare of the afternoon sun, she sighed and slipped on her sunglasses. “Goodbye beach, maybe tomorrow.” Man, I so needed to get out there today, I NEEDED it. Damn it! But Business came first, it always came first. She gave a longing look over her shoulder to her blue beach bag. One thing that kept her sane was that beach, whether it was running, walking, or surfing, it kept her grounded. There was just something about the sea air that was so settling.

She pulled into the apartment complex on Mercer she’d scrawled down a piece of paper, and parked. Checking herself over once in the small rear view, she pulled her hair back in a loose ponytail tucking the stray curls behind her ears. She straightened the collar of her suit jacket before exiting the car clutching her briefcase.

“Time to rock and roll,” she winced at her own cliché before striding into the marble floored lobby.

“I’m here to see Mr. Bongiovi, its MacKenzie Cooper he’s expecting me,” she nodded towards the suited man.

He smiled and picked up the small phone attached to the wall. “Good evening Mr. Bongiovi, I have a MacKenzie Cooper here to see you.”

“Yes sir, right away,” he hung up and turned back to her.

“Ms Cooper, take the lift to the top floor and Mr Bongiovi will be waiting.”

“Thank you,” she smiled and walked into the elevator.

Penthouse, Nice.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Are you ready to move into Dangerous Territory?

She swore an oath to protect and serve.

She swore her life to protect his.

She swore duty came before love.

Meet MacKenzie Cooper, she owns and operates her own Private Investigation & Personal Security Agency. MacKenzie is an ex-marine, ex-cop, who has settled down with her own little world with all she knows.

He swore he'd never mix business and pleasure.

He swore he'd never fall in love.

Meet Jon Bon Jovi, fresh from his Lost Highway tour, now busy with commitments with the Soul, and doing stomps for Obama and the democratic party. Seperated and single, he's quite content being on his own and just adoring his kids. Let's face it, the guy is just too busy for anything else.

An attempted hit and run on Jon, finds MacKenzie and Jon in an interesting situation of where fiction meets reality. Jon has to learn to put complete trust and control in MacKenzie's hands, for the sake of his life and his kids.

This story started out as a collaboration with a very good friend, Tara Leigh. Tara has given me the blessing to continue this, as Jon and MacKenzie's story deserves to be told. You can find Tara's latest work Devotion on her blog, and believe me it promises to be a hell of a ride.